Sam Burgess named England captain for Four Nations

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Rugby union career not a failure - Burgess

Sam Burgess has been named England captain for the Four Nations, 11 months after returning to rugby league following an ill-fated spell in union.

The 27-year-old South Sydney Rabbitohs forward was appointed ahead of James Graham, with Wigan's Sean O'Loughlin ruled out through injury.

Burgess spent a year at rugby union side Bath before returning to league.

England play New Zealand in their opening Four Nations game on 29 October.

"It is a childhood dream to be named captain," Burgess told BBC Sport.

"It really hit home when I spoke to my mum and she got emotional. My wife is over the moon even though she is Australian."

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Burgess' World Cup highlights

England have never won the Four Nations, which this year includes Australia, New Zealand and Scotland.

Indeed they (and previously Great Britain) have not won a tournament featuring Australia and New Zealand since 1972, when they beat the former in the World Cup final.

"It has been a while," said Burgess. "We are aware of that. But we are moving in the right direction as a country.

"It is now up to us to go out and own a bit of responsibility.

"Although I am captain on the field for this tournament, there are a group of leaders in this squad and I know that we will work together and as hard as possible to try to achieve success on the pitch."

Burgess, whose brothers George and Tom also feature in a 24-man England squad, has stood in as Rabbitohs captain this season during Greg Inglis' absence.

He has won 14 caps for England and last played in the 2013 World Cup semi-final defeat by New Zealand.

He switched codes to play in the 2015 rugby union World Cup, from which England were eliminated at the group stage.

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Highlights: New Zealand 20-18 England

'I wouldn't do anything different' - Burgess on union move

Burgess' spell in union has been criticised, but he said he has "no regrets" over his decision to move in 2014.

"I am really proud of the way I committed to becoming the best I could be in the timeframe," he said.

"I wouldn't do anything different. I attacked it and put my best foot forward and tried to be as successful as possible.

"It was a nice period in my career but I am glad to be back here with the England rugby league team."

They are coached by Australian Wayne Bennett, who replaced Steve McNamara in February.

England play a warm-up match against France in Avignon on 22 October - with Burgess suspended, Graham will captain the team - before the Four Nations starts on 28 October.

After facing New Zealand in Huddersfield, England meet Scotland in Coventry on 5 November and Australia at the Olympic Stadium in London on 13 November.

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